Slavery was officially outlawed across the country in 1865 after the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was approved. Achieving complete freedom and citizenship rights for African Americans, however, required more than simply abolishing slavery. For many years to come, people would continue to fight for the nation’s basic ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for all. This fight got started during the Reconstruction era and gained fresh significance and momentum. In the early years of the country’s history, enslaved African Americans began to express their desire for liberation (Ogborn, 2019). It was clear from their actions how important freedom was to them—whether they chose to flee or to openly criticize slavery on paper or in court. Even though the Constitutional Congress decided to permit the continuation of slavery, the language in the Constitution served to further reinforce their belief in their right to liberty and freedom. This decision created a paradox for the new nation because it was founded on the idea of liberty while also relying on slavery for economic survival. Limited and precarious freedom existed for African Americans. Black people who were free were required to carry identification as they risked being taken and sold into slavery if they did not. No state or territory offered freedom to persons fleeing servitude due to fugitive slave laws (Nicholson et al., 2018). Cont…

Define and explain “freedom” from “slavery”.


“Freedom through slavery”



In 1865, the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution made slavery illegal across the nation. To achieve complete freedom for African Americans and their citizenship rights, it was more difficult than abolishing slavery. People would fight to defend the basic principles of freedom, equality and justice for all for many more years. This struggle was rekindled and given new momentum during Reconstruction. In the early days of America’s history, many enslaved African Americans started to voice their need for liberation. It was clear from their actions how important freedom was to them—whether they chose to flee or to openly criticize slavery on paper or in court. While the Constitutional Congress voted to allow slavery to continue indefinitely, their faith in freedom and liberty was reinforced by the Constitution. The new nation was faced with a paradox because its founding principles were liberty and it relied on slavery to survive. African Americans had a limited and fragile freedom. Blacks who had been granted freedom were obliged to have identification. If they didn’t, they could be taken into slavery and sold. Persons fleeing slavery due to fugitive laws are not allowed to leave the territory or state they were in (Nicholson and others, 2018). Cont…


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